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I Should Just Live Alone
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I am 24 and living at home with my Mom, younger sister and her 1 year old son. This situation is to save me money (since getting dx'd with celiac prevented me from attending grad school by myself in NY).

They are mostly awesome about my diet, keeping my nephew on a gluten-free diet so that I can pick him up and help take care of him. But sometimes... they're not.

It's pretty difficult when I'm suffering from "lady pains," on top of finally quitting cigarettes, on top of being riotously sick for 21 hours straight after drinking alcohol on NYE and reacting to it, and THEN having my sister bring home fast food. <<VENT>>

So I am saving up money to move out with a friend whom I've known for 13 years and I think is a trustworthy kitchen-mate. I was pretty excited about this, until she suggests adding in a 3rd roommate. UGH! I am already worried about jeopardizing my friendship with this person I've known forever because I've seen how hard it is for my family to understand my "picky" disease. How could someone I've never met put up with me, and how can I trust them??

I know there are people with celiac disease who live with "WE" roommates, but I dont know how you bear it. I feel like I am constantly worried and constantly frustrating people. Do I need to just save up enough money to live alone?

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No, you just need to save up enough nerve to be able to set boundaries with whatever situation you end up in. Roommates are really dicey, without the extra food safety issues, while living with relatives is also bad sometimes, because emotionally you would expect them to be willing to make an effort. It sounds like they are trying, but are not perfect. You just found out the most treacherous times are the holidays, especially the entire interval between Thanksgiving and New's Year Day, and if you want to have a nice holiday, that means you plan (excessively to most) to avoid being caught in any situation on the eve of such, where anything is going into your mouth that you are not positive about the gluten status of it. Plus, there's a LOT of flu and viruses going around. I was doing great until I had to touch my face to see to drive, before washing my hands after shopping at one store, (very long story) and of course, I then wake up on Christmas Day with a good gluten status, but otherwise like Death Warmed Over. At least I was only down for 3 days, recovered quickly, and it could have been a LOT worse if I hadn't been being extra, extra careful. When I went to a little New Year's type neighborhood gathering, I just brought my own snack bag of chips and my own bottled (non alcoholic) drink, and because my neighbor is very cool and actually understands why I do this, (she also is avoiding certain foods now, and she looks fantastic) nobody thinks anything of it, and I don't have to worry much about cross contamination, as long as I remember not to kiss my spouse who is scarfing down the regular goodies. He is gluten free at home, but not outside the home.

Cheer up, the holidays are OVER, and the next round of avoiding people trying to give you gluten starts in Mid- February. There may be things that you can do at home to make a better workspace for yourself, for example, that is not as drastic as moving in with someone whom you discover after the fact, despite assurances, is a typical carb addict and a sort of crumb- spreader, :blink: or worse, they eat your stuff too, <_< and don't replace it. :ph34r:

If you are not taking a gluten free vitamin B complex, calcium, magnesium, and D supplement, then you ought to start, because quitting smoking is stressful.

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Roommates can be the worst. I had various troubles with many of them. Stealing money and other things from me. Eating my food while I was at work. Being too messy. Bringing drugs into the apartment. Selling drugs from the apartment. Constantly having BF spend the night then having BF hit on me while she was sleeping. Not paying the rent or worse yet just disappearing when the rent was due. And of course at some point they will want to move out for some reason.

I was sooo happy when I was finally able to get my own apartment. It was super cheap because I was living above a dance studio. Yes, the music could get loud but I'm a former dancer so I was used to it. And they never raised my rent. So I managed to be able to save up some money and then eventually I got what I thought was a nicer/better apartment. Turns out it was not because it had serious plumbling problems and still does today. My mom knows someone that moved into that same apartment. And when she was describing the plumbing problems, my mom said, "Where is it?" Bingo!

What you might consider doing until you can earn and/or save up more money is renting a room somewhere. It certainly would be cheaper but it could have its own set of problems such as sharing a bathroom. Someone could be using gluteny cosmetics in the shower or tub and you might not know it. And you wouldn't have a kitchen. But you would most likely have a fridge and perhaps a microwave and they might even let you use a hot plate.

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Living with people is tough, relatives or roommates, but living on your own without enough funds to support yourself easily is also tough.

if the most financially sound option for you right now is to stay put at home (if there aren't issues other than gluten driving you out of the house. I know I can't spend more than a week with my parents without going batty) and save up until you can move out on your own.

I could save tons of money if I had a roommate, but a: I like my space at the best of times and b: I just don't want to have to worry about the kitchen situation. When I do decide to cohabitate with someone again, there will be some serious gluten-proofing required. I won't go as far as to force a friend or partner to go gluten free at home, but they would have to take all precations to make sure its safe for me.

That said, if you have a friend, or friends, who you trust and is willing to accomodate you, then that would be great. There are always going to be issues. That's unavoidable. But if you can agree that a happy house is one where you don't get sick, then it should work out.

Also, definitely give yourself some time to recover from the holidays first. I was fine until accidentally glutened at Christmas dinner, then horribly sick New Year's Eve, and just now getting back to normal. It's a crazy time. Think about it, consider your options, and make the decision that's right for you.

Cheers

Peg

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I live in a non-sectarian intentional community of five adults I formed back in 1997 (kind of like the support, companionship, cost-savings, and comfort of family, but with less baggage and obligation). We share all grocery costs and each of us cooks for the household once a week (it's a free-for-all the other days, but there are usually plenty of leftovers). There are no personal shelves or partitions in the fridge. Unless you label a doggy bag or personal treat as off-limits, it's up for grabs. ($130/month pretty much pays for all the food you can eat--a pretty good bargain).

I've been lactose intolerant since 1990 and discovered my gluten sensitivity in 2010. We also have a vegan housemate, so we've always cooked to the lowest common denominator: gluten-free and animal-product-free. This living situation isn't for everyone, but those whom we invite to join the community are fully aware and accepting of the dietary considerations. Some new housemates need more "training" than others. I have one housemate who would seem to be almost gluten and dairy dependent, but over the past year-and-a-half he's come to learn that you can make delicious food without wheat and milk. With a family history of type II diabetes, he's also discovered the unexpected value that comes from the deliberateness required to eat a gluten-free, vegan diet: less processed food and more whole foods. Today, I taught him how to make a roux with chickpea flour (but forgot to show him how you can use soy milk and margarine to make it dairy-free--he tried to make it with just soy milk instead of his preference of whole cream).

As I mentioned, intentional community is not for everyone, starting one is not easy, and finding one that you can adapt to living in can be difficult. But my main point is that what I've found over the past 15 years (and 20+ housemates) is that people are more flexible and open than you think. Be confident in what you need, let people know that your dietary needs are not a choice, but a necessity with serious consequences if you deviate. If living with and established friend seems too risky, seek out a safe resource for finding housemates (if you have a faith community or other social group to which you belong, that can be a good start). We usually don't tell people about the vegan/gluten-free thing until they come to the interview (usually over dinner). We do say we're vegetarian in our Craig's list posting and on the website, but people are more open to the gluten-free/vegan thing once they've had a delicious vegan/gluten-free dinner with interesting dinner hosts (at least we think we're interesting). If we meet someone who can't fathom eating anything but Mac-and-cheese steak-stuffed chicken with egg topping, we know it isn't a good match.

Be confident, let people know that your dietary needs are not a choice, but that they are not a restriction on enjoying a delicious, healthful and varied diet! Most people would probably benefit from eating a rich gluten-free diet only because it generally forces one to cook more from scratch using whole foods. Can't go wrong with that!

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    • Hi everyone, I've been reading this forum sporadically and have some questions of my own. I'm in my 40s and was diagnosed with celiac last December by biopsy and blood work after months of tests by my primary and then a gastro. My husband, around the same age as me, was dx'd with stage 4 cancer a month later, so admittedly it's took me longer than I'd have liked to learn about celiac. Now I feel pretty on top of my diet. I mostly make my own food - proteins and veggies, with some certified gluten-free snacks in the mix - and am pretty strict about what I will/won't eat at friend's houses or in restaurants (I prefer to go to dedicated gluten-free kitchens whenever possible). I'm doing okay on the diet, but still getting glutened every so often, usually when I let me guard down outside the home. I also periodically see my primary and a naturopath (who happens to have celiac!), but still, I have many questions if anyone would care to answer:

      -FATIGUE. I'm still so tired, fatigued so much of the time. My doctors blame this on the stress of my husband's diagnosis and my periodic trouble sleeping. But even during weeks where I'm sleeping enough (8-10 hrs a day), eating right, exercising as I can, trying to keep stress at bay, I'm still so bleeping tired. Maybe not when I wake up, but by late afternoon. Often my legs even feel weak/wooden. Has anyone else experienced greater fatigue early on after being diagnosed? This will pass, yes? I know I could cut out the sweets and that could help, but also, being a caregiver is hard and sometimes it's nice to eat your feelings between therapy sessions.  

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      -SKIN PROBLEMS. I have had a smidge of eczema since I was a teen and it - and the dermatitis herpetiformis I've acquired with my dx - are out of control right now. I recognize the connection with stress, but also, has anyone found any great natural remedies for DH to stop the itching? I've tried so many useless ointments and medicated creams, a number of them given to my by a dermo months ago. I see my naturopath this week, but thought I'd ask here too.

      -MOSTLY gluten-free KITCHEN GOOD ENOUGH? My husband is supportive of my diet and mostly eats gluten free meals with me, but we still keep a gluten-y toaster for him and the gluten-y dog food in a corner of the kitchen and he still makes the occasional meal with gluten for himself on his own cookware (ravioli, pizza, mac n cheese, etc). Or sometimes I make eggs/toast and the like for him when he's too sick to move. Otherwise, we're militant about how we cook, which cookware we use, etc. He even has a kitchen nook off our den where he makes sandwiches. But sometimes I wonder if having two separate sponges in our shared-ish main kitchen is enough and I should just banish all gluten whatsoever from the kitchen. I can't be the only one with a mixed kitchen, right? How do you do it if you have a mixed-eating family?

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